UTMB Forced to Give PETA Documents on Animal Experiments

Attorney General Greg Abbott has ruled that the UT Medical Branch in Galveston must turn over documents sought by PETA regarding experiments done on animals.

A PETA whistleblower alleged in January that animals were used in painful and deadly burn, pain and irritable bowel syndrome experiments and training exercises."

PETA's Robbyn Brooks tells Hair Balls UTMB must now hand over "more than a thousand pages" of documents.

"We expect they will show that what the whistleblower said was true," she said.

UTMB had argued that releasing the documents would expose research that they eventually hoped to sell, among other things.

At the time of the allegations, it also denied doing anything improper:

As a leading research institution committed to advancing the treatment and prevention of illness and injury, UTMB strives to adhere to the highest ethical standards and to follow all federal, state and campus regulations in every aspect of its research enterprise. Our animal facilities are regularly inspected and approved by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and the institution's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

On the other hand, the PETA whistleblower alleged:

-- [An experimenter] subjected sheep, pigs and mice to third-degree burns on up to 40 percent of their bodies using a Bunsen burner or scorching-hot metal rod and forced the animals to inhale smoke.

-- UTMB faculty members cut open dogs and surgically implanted tubes into their colons. One dog died during surgery, and another suffered in pain following surgery when staff didn't provide painkillers. The dog later died.

-- UTMB experimenters induced spinal cord and nerve damage in sheep. One sheep couldn't stand for three days following the surgery and was given no pain relief.

-- One sheep suffered a broken leg and trauma so severe that it caused the animal's intestines to penetrate her chest cavity.

-- A highly social macaque monkey was kept alone in a steel cage and denied contact with other nonhuman primates in violation of the law.

-- Mice died of dehydration after staff failed to notice that the animals did not have access to water.

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